An old Scottish poem has the line: “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” This means that even after all our planning, something can still go wrong. If you are planning to host a webinar, one important part of your planning should be a webinar contingency plan.
The best way to start planning your webinar contingencies is to ask yourself: “What will I do if?” In this article, we will address many of the issues and problems that can happen while delivering your webinar.
What to do if
I have to cancel the webinar
This can sometimes happen due to unforeseen events. Depending on your webinar platform or software cancelling a webinar can be a simple task. Very often an automated email will be sent to all those registered informing them of the cancelation.
That is the technical side, but you still have your participants to think of, so itís important to send a personalized message as well. Many of them will be disappointed that they won’t be able to attend. You will, of course, have to refund any registration fees that were collected. But, as a matter of goodwill, you could offer something of value. This could be a PDF handout or a slideshow video of the slides you planned to use.
If you reschedule your webinar for a later time, then you could inform the participants of this and offer registration at a reduced cost.
The internet goes down
Make sure that you have a backup plan. Many smartphones have a data connection and can easily be turned into a hotspot. This could be a temporary measure while you reconnect to your main internet connection. Even if the internet connection problem will be a longer problem than expected, you can at least inform attendees of the problem.
Some webinar platforms, such as ClickMeeting allow for a telephone landline to be used. This should be checked beforehand so you know exactly how to set it up and use it so you have it as a backup.
Mobile devices now come with a 3G or 4G connection that does not rely on your home or office WiFi or Ethernet connection, and with ClickMeeting, you can easily use these devices to join your webinar.
If the audio fails
Audio failure could be a complete loss of audio, or the line breaking up. The best thing to do is to use the chat system and then apologize for the inconvenience and that you are doing everything in your power to rectify the problem. If the problem is temporary, then you can carry on.
If no one shows up or registers
This is probably the one single thing that webinar hosts fear the most ñ an empty room. If this happens, then there probably isn’t much you can do at the time to solve the problem. However, you now have some extra time on your hands.
Use the time to analyze your webinar marketing strategies to find out why no one showed.
- Was your topic engaging enough?
- Did you spend enough time marketing the webinar?
- Did you have a good landing page for registrations?
If a guest speaker doesn’t show
This can be a major problem, especially if attendees were expecting to hear from him/her. First of all, the guest could have connection problems. To avoid this, make sure that all guest speakers have a cell phone handy. Then you can call them. If possible, they could relay the information to you, and you could then tell your audience. Again, the landline option is a very good one for this situation, as they can simply call in to the webinar to participate.
To deal with a complete no show, it is good to have a backup content plant, so make apologies for the speaker and then move on to the backup presentation. If you do not have a backup presentation ready then you will need to inform your attendees that the webinar will be rescheduled. Always send the most heartfelt apologies and some freebies as a matter of goodwill.
If I lose power
Whenever possible have a fully charged laptop as a backup. This way, if there is a loss of power then you can still continue with the presentation. By the way, with ClickMeeting, you can also use a tablet or a smartphone to connect to your webinar. Again, make sure these devices are fully charged.
If my computer crashes or freezes
Make sure that you have two devices logged in and ready to go beforehand, whenever possible, such as the main desktop plus a laptop or mobile device. This way, if one slows down or crashes, you can easily switch to the other one. It is always good practice to reduce the number of background tasks running on your presentation computer to avoid a processor overload.
I hit the “End Webinar” button by mistake
Mistakes do happen. Most will realize though that this was just that. Depending on your webinar platform it should be easy just to reconnect with everyone. Be sure to follow up with an email after the presentation apologizing for the hiccup.
The best way to make sure that your webinar contingencies will work when they need to is to foresee and plan for every possible scenario. So go through the “what ifs” to train in coping with unexpected events and problems.
Additionally, one of the most important considerations that can really diminish the impact of technical problems that may arise is to choose a webinar provider that offers top-notch tech support, such as ClickMeeting where you are never alone and can get reliable help quickly.